World Series of Poker Europe

Season 9 EPT Grand Final €25,000 High Roller Day 1: Defending Champ Kurganov Leads

Igor Kurganov

Day 1 of the €25,000 High Roller at the 2013 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final has come to a conclusion following an exciting day of action involving a star-studded field of players. With the first 10 levels in the books and a field that easily surpassed last year's in size, Igor Kurganov led the way with 471,700 in chips.

Kurganov stole the show on Day 1, and it was quite a fitting performance seeing that he is the defending champion of this event. Last year, Kurganov defeated a field of 133 entries to win €1.08 million.

Kurganov won many pots along the way to earn the number one spot, but really solidified his position after busting Paul Volpe late in the night. Kurganov's {A-}{Q-} came from behind against Volpe's {A-}{K-} thanks to making a Broadway straight on the river.

While this event featured a hefty buy-in two and a half times the size of the Main Event (which concluded its Day 4 with 16 players remaining), it also featured an option for a single reload. Plenty of the entrants opted to fire their second bullet upon busting the first, including Phil Ivey.

Ivey's first bullet couldn't do the job when he ran {Q-}{J-} into an opponent's {Q-}{Q-} on a board of {Q-}{X-}{X-}{J-} to be drawing dead. Upon firing a second shell, Ivey doubled up right away and looked to be much on his way to a more successful try. Not too long after his double, though, Ivey would fall at the hands of the magical man, Antonio Esfandiari.

Also on his second bullet, Esfandiari raised Ivey all in on a flop of {10-Spades}{8-Clubs}{6-Clubs} after Ivey fired 7,000 into a pot of roughly 13,000. After Chris Moore folded behind, Ivey made the call to put himself at risk with the {9-Clubs}{2-Clubs} for a combo draw. Esfandiari held the {10-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds} for top and bottom pair. The turn was the {Q-Diamonds}, giving Ivey more outs to a higher straight, but the {5-Spades} on the river wasn't what he needed. With that, Ivey was left waiting for the €100,000 Super High Roller to begin in a few days' time while Esfandiari went on to finish with 233,400.

Other notables who busted not once, but twice, were Jean-Noel Thorel, Anatoly Gurtovoy, Scott Seiver, Sam Trickett and Galen Hall.

Falling in line behind the defending champion Kurganov were Benny Spindler with 387,400 in chips and Tony Gregg with 384,500. Also of note are Alex Bilokur and Marvin Rettenmaier, both with 206,200, and then Dan O'Brien with 196,700.

With around a third of the field left, things will really be heating up on Day 2. Registration will remain open until the start of the second day of play, which will be at 12 p.m. CET. That means those who have yet to enter can still buy in, while others who have entered and busted only once can fire €25,000 a second time.

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